Ryan Garcia and Mercito Gesta have signed contracts for a Jan. 28 fight in Phoenix, sources told ESPN.
The 140-pound bout will serve as a tune-up for Garcia, who is slated to meet Gervonta Davis on April 15 in a Las Vegas super fight at a 136-pound catchweight.
Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) has his own tune-up on Jan. 7 against 130-pound titleholder Hector Luis Garcia in Washington, D.C.
Both Ryan Garcia and Davis must emerge victorious — and uninjured — from their respective January bouts to proceed with their April 15 pay-per-view showdown.
Davis’ trial for his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run crash, meanwhile, is scheduled for Feb. 16 in his native Baltimore, according to court records.
Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) is one of the biggest stars in boxing, with nine million followers on Instagram. He’ll be a heavy favorite against Gesta, a 35-year-old Filipino who has won two of his past five bouts.
The matchup with Gesta (33-3-3, 17 KOs) comes after a pair of victories for Garcia this year, both at 140 pounds. The 24-year-old scored a unanimous-decision win over fringe contender Emmanuel Tagoe in April and followed up with a sixth-round KO over perennial contender Javier Fortuna.
Garcia, who fights out of the San Diego area, picked up his career-best victory in January 2021 after he survived a knockdown to stop Luke Campbell in the seventh round.
He didn’t fight the rest of 2021 after he withdrew from a fight with Fortuna to address his mental health, then had to scrap a bout with Joseph Diaz Jr. due to wrist surgery.
While Garcia is facing a genuine stay-busy opponent, Davis is meeting a boxer who broke through in ’22.
Hector Luis Garcia, a 10-1 underdog, routed Chris Colbert via unanimous decision in February before a wide-points victory over Roger Gutierrez earned him the WBA junior lightweight title.
The 31-year-old Dominican is ESPN’s No. 4 boxer at 130 pounds. Hector Luis Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs) will move up five pounds for the lightweight clash with Davis.
Ryan Garcia gets Mercito Gesta on Jan. 28 in tuneup for Gervonta Davis